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NCJ Number: 160631 Find in a Library
Title: Alcoholism Is a Genetically Inherited Disease (From Alcoholism, P 18-24, 1994, Carol Wekesser, ed. -- See NCJ-160630)
Author(s): K Blum; J E Payne
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: Greenhaven Press
Farmington Hills, MI 48333-9187
Sale Source: Greenhaven Press
P.O. Box 9187
Farmington Hills, MI 48333-9187
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Although most physicians consider alcoholism to be a disease, its specific cause is unknown; recent studies, however, show that genetic factors may play an important role in determining who becomes alcoholic.
Abstract: The early symptoms of the disease of alcoholism, even before drinking begins, are often intense forms of restlessness, anxiety, stubbornness, and anger that drive the alcoholic into self-destructive, asocial, or antisocial behavior. Alcohol sets the trap by demonstrating that it can ease the pressure temporarily and provide brief feelings of pleasure and well- being. As the alcoholic takes the bait and begins drinking more and more, the nature of the trap becomes evident. When the initial "high" wears off, there is an increase in anxiety, hostility, or depression, and more alcohol must be consumed to regain the good feeling. As drinking continues over time, relationships with family, friends, and co-workers deteriorate; body functions are damaged; mind functions such as memory and reasoning diminish; and a powerful craving for more alcohol is generated. In pregnant women, heavy drinking can lead to the dangerous fetal alcohol syndrome, as alcohol penetrates the placenta and reaches the unborn child. In addition to discussing the progression, symptoms, and impact of alcoholism, this paper briefly profiles types of alcoholics and summarizes some studies that have compared genetic and environmental factors in alcoholism. It concludes that the studies discussed have established a strong role for genetic predisposition in alcoholism; environmental factors play a role in activating this predisposition.
Main Term(s): Drug abuse
Index Term(s): Alcoholism; Biological influences; Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders; Genetic influences on behavior
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